2012,another great year…
Family News

The Cheffings Family is all well. Zoe is 9, soon to hit double figures – how time flies. Oscar has just turned 8, and that little monkey Ella is also growing up, now 31⁄2. They are all thriving at school and in the outdoor environment offered by life in Kenya. Zoe’s horseback skills continue to improve, now with 2 ponies (Dart and Eclipse) that she competes on regularly show jumping. She also represented her school in the Under 11’s at rounders and athletics, field hockey and netball. With a gift from my mother of a Piano, her music skills are also developing fast. Oh, and that is along with her straight ‘A’ academic results. Oscar is also thriving at school with great academic results and starring in the under 9’s cricket team last term and currently the field hockey, squash and swimming teams this term.
Ella continues to keep us all entertained, and looks like she is going to spend a great deal of time on horseback alongside Zoe. The pet list at home still grows with 4 tortoises, 3 dogs (and 14 puppies just produced by our ridegeback, Sasha!), 4 horses, 2 cats and slither the rock python. Our local warthog family had babies, making that little group 4 adults and 3 babies which are very much part of the scene in our garden now. Sometimes it feels a little overrun!

Fiona stays busy keeping the crowd under control during my safari absences (which is a full time job in its own right!) and also with her real estate business ‘Fastrack’. The property market here in Kenya continues to be extremely robust, rentals and sales are all up.

Safari News

Safaris have been keeping me busy and OnSafari has had another great season, especially through the summer months from June to October. There have been memorable times from all parts of Kenya and also Uganda and Rwanda. The safari activity can all be followed on OnSafari’s Facebook page by clicking facebook icon.

Please also stay in touch with the Onsafari website www.onsafarikenya.com . Mobile camping is still the core of all safaris in Kenya, tents are all upgraded and the Mess tent is fabulous. Kenya continues to be the primary focus for safaris. It is simply not possible to achieve a greater variety of habitats, wildlife, birdlife, cultures and experiences in any other country in Africa. It is very hard to beat Kenya as a safari destination. The north of Kenya, the Laikipia Plateau, the Aberdare Mountains and Mt Kenya, the Rift Valley, the Mara, Tsavo, Amboseli and the Indian Ocean are all top quality destinations, all completely different habitats, and all close to each other. This year we have added another exclusive campsite for Onsafari, in Tsavo East National Park, on the banks of the Galana River. It is a very special site that I look forward to sharing with many of my future visitors.

There were several visits to the mountain gorillas of Rwanda and Uganda last year, and more booked in 2013. This is proving a very special and popular experience. In Tanzania we visited the chimpanzees of the Mahale Mountains. This is also one of those very high quality experiences. We also spent some time in the Serengeti. The opportunities for high quality experiences in East Africa really are limitless.

Kenya News and Views

Kenya has had a good year with a sustained growth rate 5 – 6%. Tourism figures also continue to climb, and this in spite of continued international credit issues, recession and security concerns. The crisis in Somalia is now far reduced (although not ended) due to sustained efforts from Kenya’s armed forces and the focus of the international community. Kenya’s fabulous coastline and beach tourism is flourishing once more as a result. Kenya’s next immediate challenge is the current election period and the peaceful and mature transfer of power. This all happens in March 2013, and there is every indication that there will be no repeat of the election violence experienced in 2007. Lets hope so.

 

 

Conservation

The immediate wildlife crisis facing us in Africa has been the high levels of rhino and elephant poaching experienced this last period throughout the continent, and Kenya has not been spared. This is an international scourge which is now in the class of international organized crime. Revenues from ivory and rhino horn are used to finance the emergence of violent African militias and other terrorist organizations that then lead to international terrorism events. It is thought that poaching generated USD 5 – 6 Billion in 2012 alone.
While international organizations and governments are working to tackle this at higher levels, local on-the-ground rangers such as those of the Kenya Wildlife Service and smaller conservation bodies are at the sharp end, often putting themselves in harm’s way to protect these iconic animals.

Recently I and Onsafari have become involved with the embryonic Tsavo Trust in order to do our part in conservation. The Tsavo area is obviously close to my heart and has been in need of a private conservation body to assist the KWS in monitoring and security over this vast wilderness. Tsavo is home to some 20,000 elephants, and some of those last great tuskers that we are desperate to look after.

Tsavo Trust is spearheaded by Richard Moller, formerly in charge of wildlife and security at Lewa. Richard is in the air and on the ground daily over Tsavo, working with KWS in the protection of our wildlerness. Tsavo Trust needs all the support it can get. Please go to www.tsavotrust.org to learn more about them. Your tax deductible donations to Tsavo Trust via the UK’s Tusk Trust http://www.justgiving.com/Tsavo-Trust-Elephants do a great deal for conservation where it is needed – right here on the ground in Tsavo. Alternatively, please get hold of me and we can work together in getting your funds directly to a specific project that is in need, and then come and see it for yourself!